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Saturday, April 17, 2010

UnStepping the Mast

Unstepping the mast of a sailboat can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. With all the information on the internet, I could not find a detailed explanation of what needed to be done to accomplish the task. So, I turned to my trusty Yahoo Gemini owners forum for help. Thanks to the wonderful people on the forum, I was able to learn the steps as well as pick up some great tips for the mast on our Gemini 3200.

The tools I needed were just a few: needle nose pliers, channel locks, and a screw driver. I also obtained some Liquid Wrench, a lubricant that helps loosen bolts.

First, I sprayed the top and bottom of the turnbuckles with Liquid Wrench and let it soak through all the threads. This made it much easier to loosen the turnbuckles.

Next, I removed all of the cotter pins. Our boat had a total of 36 cotter pins that needed to be removed (3 on each stay).


Once the cotter pins were removed, I inserted the screw driver into the turnbuckle and gripped the swage (piece that connects turnbuckle and stay wire) with the channel locks, to keep if from twisting.

Using the screw driver, I turned the turnbuckle to the left (lefty loosey). You only have to loosen the turnbuckles enough so that you can remove the clevis pin from the chain plate. It takes a little force and it took me a few tries before I realized that I was turning the turnbuckle the wrong way. What!? I'm a lefty and dyslexic when it comes to levers and such ;).

The final step was supporting the mast while removing the clevis pins. In our case, we were using the crane on the travel lift of the boat yard. Without this, we would have had to secure the mast in some other way to keep it from toppling while we removed the supports.


One, two, three the mast is off.


Thanks to the boat yard crew for setting up some saw horses for the mast to rest on and helping with the mast!


As a final step, I put a bucket over the mast step to keep water from pouring into the boat via the mast wire hole.

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